RICís Jason Harris: Menís Basketball Building Block

by Kristen DiChiaro

 

Six months ago Rhode Island College freshman Jason Harris didnít think he would be playing college basketball, let alone becoming an impact player. Despite his thoughts, Harris has been a bright spot for the Anchormen in a season with little light.

Harris, who was an all-star football and basketball player in high school, had his hopes set on playing college football. "I applied to all football schools but it fell through for me. Then I got recruited by Coach Johnston [last seasonís interim Head Coach]," says Harris. "During try-outs I was saying to myself ĎI donít think I can play at this level.í The other guys at try-outs were really talented and I just didnít think I could compete with them."

Harris ended up making the team and becoming the starting power forward for the Anchormen. This season has been a tough one for the team, posting only a 1-19 overall record and a 0-9 record in the Little East Conference.

Harris is leading the team in scoring with 9.4 ppg. He is second in rebounding with 6.7 rpg and third in steals with 0.8 spg. He scored a career-high 22 points and grabbed ten rebounds in the teamís lone win of the season against Bridgewater State on Jan. 10.

Harrisí impact on the team has come as a surprise to him but with each passing game he gains more confidence in his playing abilities. "I use my size as an advantage," says Harris. "Iím one of the shortest guys at my position at 6í3" so the guys Iím matched up against are usually 6í6" and taller but Iím bigger than a lot of them so I try to take advantage of that and use my body."

Even though the Anchormen have been in last place in the LEC all year, Harris feels many positive things have come out of the season. Losing has only driven the team to play harder. "Weíre all willing to do whatever it takes to win," says Harris. "The whole team bonded this year. Everyone on the team hangs out together," says Harris.

The Anchormen have eight new players on the roster and an entirely new coaching staff with Head Coach Mike Kelly and his assistants Jeff Caron and Patrick McNulty. With this mixture the future looks bright for the team. Kelly and his staff came on board late last summer and missed an entire season of recruiting.

"Jason really surprised the coaching staff this season," says Assistant Coach McNulty. "He gets the most out of his abilities and is a tireless worker in the paint. Although heís only a freshman, heís definitely one of the leaders on this team."

The team is looking forward to next season and plans on working hard during the off-season. "I can guarantee I will be ready for next season," Harris says adamantly. He plans on getting into better shape and working on his outside game during the off-season.

"I think weíre just one player away. If we can get one more good player, I think we will have enough talent to start winning games," says Harris.

Harris is a 2001 graduate of Bedford High School in Bedford, Massachusetts. He was a four-year letterwinner in basketball and football while at BHS. He was also a captain, all-star and earned All-League honors in both sports during his senior year.

 

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